I woke up the next morning feeling much more confident since my sickness had gone away. Since Tom had gone to work again, I was left there without transportation and with two little babies. No TV, no radio, no telephone. It was like stepping back in time. Cell phones were not invented yet, and I think back and wonder how we did without them!
I decided to go down to the bar and get coffee and some kind of coffee cake. That sounded easy. So once the girls were sleeping, I went downstairs and saw an older man at the bar. Later I would learn that he was the father of the owner. I thought “I can do this. I took Spanish in high school. Italian can't be that different than Spanish.”
I asked the man for “caffe” and he seemed to understand, so he made me a cup of coffee. I LOVE cold milk in the morning, so I also asked him for “latte”, and that worked too. Then he asked me if I wanted my “latte” caldo or freddo. I thought a second and decided that “caldo” sounded more like cold, so I asked for it “caldo”. He smiled and did that for me. Then I asked for something to eat (probably in sign language) and he gave me something that was in a plastic covering. I think I was expecting some kind of Sara Lee cake. It looked decent, so I smiled again and added it to my tray that held my exciting first breakfast in Italy. Money never came up (thank goodness) so I took my trey and went back up to see about the girls and have my breakfast.
Well, as I am sure you can imagine, things were not going to meet my expectations. First, I took a taste of the coffee. He had made me a beautiful cup of expresso that I did NOT appreciate. The milk was hot… again, not to my expectations. And, finally, the pastry in the plastic container was absolutely dry and uninteresting. At that point, both girls started bawling, and I just sat there and joined them! Amidst all our tears, an angel named Nancy Beckwith showed up with American towels, soft American TP and I don’t even remember what else. She packed me and the girls up and took us down to the base and drove me places I don’t even remember!
We lived in Italy for over four years and learned to love Italy and all the nuances that made it special for our family, but it humors me to remember our experiences as we became enculturated.